No Harm Can Come to a Good Man, by James Smythe
Just after he begins his campaign to receive the Democratic Party nomination for US President, Laurence Walker suffers a family tragedy.
He’s soon back in the race, and looks set to be the next President. But when his team insists he fill out a report for ClearVista, the popular new technology that can predict anything, the results of his report are unexpected.
Not only that, they’re terrifying.
Can Laurence prevent this prediction from coming true, or is the outcome inevitable?
A literary psychological thriller.
Laurence Walker is an everyday American man: husband, father, war hero, and bright young politician. He works hard and pursues his ambitions, whilst managing to be a decent guy.
But as the story progresses and the pressure on him increases, the cracks begin to appear in his character.
Key themes and motifs
- Our willingness to accept anything we see in the media as truth without outside evidence.
- The influence of technology on our everyday lives and our reliance on it as the answer to many problems.
- Whether free will exists or our actions can be foretold.
- How grief can affect a family.
What’s to love?
This novel has a simple premise, written in spare, understated language, yet it is incredibly powerful and thought provoking. Smythe is fantastic at examining the effect of technology on an individual’s already troubled psyche.
Don’t ask me how, but the algorithm gets results we can’t. Private records. It knows everything. Everything…”
At times, this isn’t an easy book to read. It’s painful to witness the decline of a decent man, who has been condemned without actually doing anything wrong.
Without wanting to give too much away, I found it frustrating how easily Laurence’s family, friends and neighbours were willing to believe something awful of him, without evidence. But then that’s the whole point of the story, to examine our over-reliance on the media and technology.
Read it if you enjoyed
- The Machine, by James Smythe
- Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer
Find out more:
No Harm Can Come to a Good Man, on Amazon (affiliate link)
No Harm Can Come to a Good Man, on Goodreads